Manchester father who violently shook baby son to death jailed for 15 years

A father who violently shook his four-month-old son to death has been jailed for a total of 15 years.

Sam Gildea, 30, of Partington, Greater Manchester, admitted the manslaughter of baby Alfie in an “act of deliberate and unlawful violence which involved rigorous and violent shaking”.

Emergency services were called by the boy’s mother, Caitlin McMichael, 25, after she returned home from the doctor’s to find Alfie unconscious on the morning of September 12.

The baby was rushed to hospital with significant traumatic head injuries but died two days later.

Gildea was due to stand trial this week at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court accused of murder but his guilty plea to the alternative count of manslaughter was accepted by the Crown.

Gildea also admitted a charge of controlling or coercive behaviour towards Ms McMichael.

On Friday, he was given an extended sentence by Mr Justice Dove with 13 years in jail for manslaughter and two additional years for the controlling behaviour. He must serve an extended licence period of four years on his release.

The court heard that Gildea had a history of involvement with mental health services.

Blood samples taken from the defendant the day after his son’s death showed traces of cocaine and cannabis in his system, consistent with recent use.

The prosecution said Gildea behaved in a controlling fashion towards Ms McMichael in their relationship and would accuse her of cheating on him and argued about her seeing her friends.

He had grabbed her face or neck and pulled her hair, as well as threatening more serious violence.

Gildea was arrested last July following a report from a neighbour and was subsequently given a domestic violence prevention order which banned him from contact with Ms McMichael for a month.

In her victim impact statement read out in court, Ms McMichael said: I will never watch my boy grow, receive a card on Mother’s Day or hear him call me mummy.”

Following sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Colin Larkin, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “I know I speak not only on behalf of the family but on behalf of every single parent out there when I say this case is truly heartbreaking in every sense of the word.

“How anyone can do this to such an innocent little boy who was unable to even try and defend himself is inconceivable.

“Gildea stripped himself of the title of Alfie’s father when he violently took away his life, the one person who should have protected him against all odds.

“From today, Alfie’s name and the precious memories his mother and the rest of his family have will live on forever and he can be remembered as the beautiful, smiley little man he was.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Greater Manchester Police / PA Wire.